Pokemon One a Day: Chansey
Matroyshka Doll...That's the name you're looking for. Today we have Chansey as our feature for Pokemon One a Day!
Chansey is a Pokemon who, because of its ovoid shape, is limited in pose or depiction. The imagery is clear - Chansey is the egg Pokemon, shaped like an egg, who carries an egg in her pouch with several egg based moves. An ambiguous creature, I've turned Chansey into a woman of sorts with this illustration, in the form of what people may call "Russian Nesting Dolls".
I actually had a few other idea before getting to this one, which I'm glad I didn't have to pursue, because I'm very content with both the idea and execution for this piece. The themes I would have pursued were all those of a being who was maternal and caring. Chansey is without a doubt one of the most iconic Pokemon in this regard. I had a Nurse Chansey concept that was shown tending to an egg in her pouch or pose holding a tray of Pokeballs. Another was a concept I almost explored for Nidoquee and do a Chansey sculpture of the world famous Venus of Willendorf, one of the ultimate idols of fertility. The last concept was a Chansey holding the egg in her pouch as an expecting mom also holding a Happiny as she reaches for a rock that she would put into her belt.
I wanted to go with the Happiny route, as I had never featured another Pokemon in another creature's illustration. I decided against it because it felt too simple and I just knew I could come up with something stronger - something different and unique that none of you might expect but the moment you saw it, it would absolutely click. I did some thinking over a few days and knew that I had to work with Chansey's specific body type...and then it hit me.
The Matroyskha Doll was the perfect way to depict Chansey! And before you ask, yes, Blissey would be the biggest doll that would house the Chansey you see (I was close to adding Blissey to the side but then that would take away the focus from Chansey) and there would be a Happiny inside this one. So yeah, once I got the first draft, I was pretty much set from there. I did tons of research, looking up traditional statuettes, new school work, studied artwork featuring the dolls, and their origin.
All of that would help me create this piece that is slightly rendered out - something I decided to do last minute after deciding that going flat would be a bit too boring. It reminded me too much of the Exeggcute illustration - ovoid, pink creature with flat colors. Perhaps I could have added light shading but most pieces do not, and I kept it tonal and applied the paint in a fashion that would work well with the source material. I threw in nods such as featuring an apron with a pouch, and having her hair feature three strands with the colored tips like in the original. I finished off the piece by using burn and highlight tools with manual paint application for the white to really show off the coat of the doll to be shiny.
And that is how we get to Matroyska Chansey! The similarities just made this a perfect set up. The Pokemon is known to be oval in shape, like the dolls. Chansey are a female only species, which in comparison to the dolls are that they're largely painted to feature women, and finally, Matroyska itself means "little matron" in Russian- by far in the Pokemon universe, Chansey is the epitome of maternal instincts. I'm really happy with this work and I hope you like it too. Thanks for reading and enjoying my art and write up - see you tomorrow!
+ Pokemon One a Day is a series illustrated and curated by Bonny John in an effort to represent the the first generation of characters from the world wide phenomenon that is known as Pokemon. The idea is simple - to draw and share one new Pokemon a day (weekends off!) until every Pokemon from the set is completed. This project is an exploration of fine art styles for learning and leisurely purposes.